State Advocacy Efforts Pay Off

State Advocacy Efforts Pay Off

This piece was originally published in the June 2017 issue of electroindustry.

Diligence by NEMA and local grassroots efforts to promote three-year adoption cycles for national model building codes paid off in Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Washington. NEMA members, field representatives, and State Government Relations staff collaborated to see these efforts through to fruition.

These states, which previously had adopted three-year cycles, were poised to pass legislation delaying code adoption in response to input from the construction industry that the constant updating of codes is burdensome.

As a result of an outpouring of opposition by NEMA, the International Code Council (ICC), the insurance industry, and advocates for fire safety, lawmakers decided to go back to the drawing board and work with stakeholders on compromises.

In Florida, NEMA helped to create a coalition with other, like-minded stakeholders such as the ICC. We asserted that the state’s current code adoption process achieves the goal of requiring buildings, homes, and other occupancies to the meet minimum standards for electrical, fire, life safety, and energy efficiency.

We have continued to work with the homebuilders and legislators for final language for Oklahoma’s SB 283, which would remove references to code adoption cycle delays while keeping intact language related to training and other topics.

South Carolina’s six-year code adoption cycle bill is identical to last year’s bill. It failed to pass out of the Senate by the crossover deadline, thereby ensuring its defeat this session.

In Washington, NEMA opposed SB 5500, a six-year code cycle bill. The Local Government Committee agreed that a six-year cycle was not in the best interests of the state and did not hear the bill nor bring it up for action in committee.

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